On December 6, 2004, 29 homes
under construction at the Hunter’s Brooke subdivision in Indian
Head, Maryland were damaged or destroyed by fire. The monetary
costs of the arson totaled
$10 million. The housing development was opposed by many area residents
who were disturbed by the long arm of urban sprawl invading their
pristine neck of the woods. Environmental groups became the usual
When the dust settled, six men were arrested
and charged with arson. Their goal was not to protect the environment
use of eco-terrorist tactics. It was all much simpler. They
didn’t want black people moving into
After long winded fulminations about radical
environmentalism and the threat of urban sprawl, it turns out
that the perpetrators
didn’t want the neighborhood to “go black.” The more things change
the more they stay the same.
The media behaved predictably. They all asked
if the Maryland community was racist. The answer was a resounding
no. White residents
said “not us,” black residents confirmed a feeling of comfort with
Despite any and all protestations to the contrary,
one suspect owned up to feeling “southern pride” and thought slavery wasn’t
so bad. Another said that blacks “have to die.” The arsonists knew which
homes had been purchased by blacks and started the fires on those
At this point in the story everyone relaxes.
The suspects are in custody and under federal indictment, black
and white proclaim
they are relieved. Whites aren’t guilty. Blacks aren’t nervous.
They should be.
Everyone should be. Violent expressions of racism are never far
from the surface in America. Most white people will gasp and proclaim
that not one racist bone resides within them when asked about racist
motives, thoughts, feelings or actions. Some are telling the truth,
and some are not.
However, there is a large minority who will
confess and proudly proclaim their racism. Overt white supremacy
groups never go away.
In the very blue state of Oregon a group who call themselves “ghost
skins” are going door to door, like the Avon ladies of yore,
in an effort to “enlighten the public on racial truths the media,
schools and government are afraid to promote.”
ghost skins eschew goose stepping and rioting, and proclaim their
intention to blend in with their neighbors.
They are skinheads,
but kinder and gentler in their approach, hence the ghostly aspect
of their movement. The ghost skin who distributed the most flyers
denouncing “the Oregon cesspool of Niggers, Spics, Kikes, Faggots,
Ragheads, Chinks, Gooks, Roaches & leftist communist swine," received
among other prizes, 1,000 white power songs as a bonus for work
well done. Thank goodness we now have Ipods.
In Riverside, California a volunteer coach for a high school football
team was also recruiting players into a white supremacist organization.
An investigation that began with allegations of steroid use concluded
with the seizure of 100 automatic and semi-automatic weapons, 15,000
rounds of ammunition and photos of freshly scrubbed young Californians
giving the old Zeig
Heil instead of the lyrics to the school song.
The Maryland men who set fire to the new homes may not have belonged
to the KKK, but they may as well have. They were willing to commit
a violent act to keep a few brown faces out of their community.
There are thousands of people like them. They sit and lurk in
the shadows, waiting for the slightest hint that they have permission
to act out their hatred. The narrative is the same all over the
world. Muslims in Bosnia told the same story. They lived seemingly
in peace with people who rose up to murder them as soon as they
thought they could get away with plans for ethnic cleansing.
Americans aren’t any different. Some of us
live among people who hate us in silence and passivity. If the
conditions are ripe, they
will speak up and begin to act out.
As usual black people can’t win. If we get
and keep good jobs and save up enough money to buy a nice home
in a picturesque setting,
we are still unwelcome. The behaviors that we are told will put
us on the road to happiness and success often do not.
Once again we must be like tight rope walkers
in the circus. Work hard. Buy a house wherever you want to live.
Well, not where you
want, but wherever your neighbors won’t burn your house to the
ground. Being black means never being able to relax.
Lest anyone relax, it is worth mentioning that 168 Americans of
all races were killed by the white supremacist Timothy
McVeigh. As reluctant as the corporate media is to point it
out, McVeigh once had a trial membership in the Klan. He claimed
that it wasn’t pro-gun enough to suit him, but if racial hatred
didn’t appeal to him at all he would have just joined the NRA.
So beware of the haters. Beware of them no matter whom they claim
to hate the most. Know that they are out there collecting guns
and ammo. While our government tells us lies about
Chinese-Iraqi terrorists headed to Boston, there are all American
boys and girls planning to kill.
Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly
Kimberley is a freelance writer living in New York City. She
can be reached via e-Mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can read more of Ms. Kimberley's writings at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com/